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Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us
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Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  485 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews

We live in the age of the individual.

We are supposed to be slim, prosperous, happy, extroverted and popular. This is our culture’s image of the perfect self. We see this person everywhere: in advertising, in the press, all over social media. We’re told that to be this person you just have to follow your dreams, that our potential is limitless, that we are the source of

Kindle Edition, 411 pages
Published June 15th 2017 by Picador
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Peter Boyle
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days when humility was regarded as a basic virtue, instead of the rampant narcissism that has invaded modern society. Ours is a generation addicted to Likes and Retweets, attempting to live up to an impossible ideal and in need of constant validation. This very site operates under such a premise - I'm as guilty as anybody in enjoying a little dopamine hit every time somebody clicks the Like button on one of my reviews.

In this engaging study, Will Storr inves
Emma Sea
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Gorgeous writing, and the most engrossing book I've read so far this year. Much more than a look at the rise of 21st century narcissism, but about how the self has been conceptualized throughout Western history and how it links to neoliberalism.

We’re lumps of biology, mashed and pounded into shape by mostly chance events. Our ‘human potential’ is limited. But this isn’t the model of self that our culture keeps showing us. Instead, we’re presented with an individual who has total free
Canadian Reader
Early in Selfie , Will Storr observes that the rise of social media, with its attendant “social perfectionism” (whereby we regularly compare ourselves to others via their meticulously curated online profiles), appears to have made Westerners increasingly dissatisfied with themselves. We live in an age of “heightened individualism”, Storr says, one in which success—being slim, rich, happy, extroverted, and popular—is a personal responsibility. The Western “self” appears to be growing more fragi ...more
Jona & Joslyn
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Agreed. Need self-evaluation...rebooting.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
One of the blurbs for this book mentioned that readers who liked “Sapiens” (Yuval Noah Harari) would also enjoy this book; I had and I did. There is the same sense of being in conversation with an interesting fellow inquirer, although my impression of Mr. Storr is that he isn’t as deadly serious as Mr. Harari and that he has a quiet sense of humor about the absurdity of some of his discoveries. He is a long-form journalist and novelist and seems to have combined a reporter’s tenacity in digging ...more
Jun 12, 2017 marked it as maybe

Will Storr interviews a young woman who has hundreds of thousands of selfies stored on memory cards, a hard drive and a sagging, overburdened iCloud. She frequently works through the night to edit and filter her daily quota of new images in readiness for disseminating them on social media. The unexamined life may not be worth living, but do all lives deserve to be examined in such redundant detail? Storr’s informant goes on to confess that she feels most alive when slashing her flesh with a razo
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book that will help you understand the world we live in today.
Oskars Kaulēns
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
personisks un humāns ceļojums laikā no brīža, kad cilvēku individuālisms sāka nomākt kolektīvisma garu, līdz mūsdienām, kur paštīksmināšanās par sevi ir sasniegusi augstāko apokalipses stadiju. autors iezīmē, viņaprāt, nozīmīgākos vēstures pagrieziena punktus, kas mūsdienu sabiedrību ir padarījusi par sevī iemīlējušos, ar narcisismu sirgstošu ļaužu baru. tāpat viņš dekonstruē mītus, ko nemitīgi projicē personības psihologi un pozitīvās domāšanas entuziasti: mēs katrs nevaram būt kaut kas no tā v ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I am not being overly dramatic when I say that we are living in a time of increasing levels of mental illness and challenges to emotional health, actual and attempted suicides, unhappy and unfulfilled people, over whelming pressures to be someone that we may not be internally programmed to be. These have always been issues in our communities through the centuries, but in the last fifty years or so there these issues have jumped to the fore of the lives of many many people in our world. But why? ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is more than a sneer at youth culture. It is a deep exploration of how we got here and some messaging we have been soaking in all our lives. It is a deep read written in an accessible style. Frequently I'd find myself hissing 'yes' as the author articulated something so pervasive but undefined in our culture where you are the product.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I rarely feel compelled make leave reviews, but this book was so informative and thought provoking that i have to make a serious recommendation. A thoroughly interesting insight into how we perceive ourselves and how our culture shapes it, told in a series of stories and easy descriptions of scientific research, complete with the careful but engaging introspection that I've come to love from Will Storr. I will be pondering this book for quite a long time.
Michael Perkins
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Because of the way our brains function, our sense of ‘me’ naturally runs in narrative mode: we feel as if we’re the hero of the steadily unfolding plot of our lives, one that’s complete with allies, villains, sudden reversals of fortune, and difficult quests for happiness and prizes. Our tribal brains cast haloes around our friends and plant horns on the heads of our enemies. Our ‘episodic memory’ means we experience our lives as a sequence of scenes – a simplistic chain of cause and effect. Ou ...more
Simon Howard
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I always love Will Storr's writing. He's remarkably talented and woefully underappreciated for his ability to bring clarity to complex socio-scientific fields. That said, I'm probably biased by my love for the fact that he writes a fair amount about public health issues, which puts him right up my street. I go out of my way to read his journalism, because whatever the topic, his byline guarantees new insights and connections between seemingly disparate facets of a topic.

This book is no exception
Frieda Vizel
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I came to this book after reading Alexandra Schwartz's "Improving Ourselves to Death" in the New Yorker. I really expected some sort of preachy variation on the author who lists all the ways we'd gotten this way and reminds us to return to some other time. I didn't expect a really interesting history of Western individuality - tracing personal responsibility back to the Greeks - running parallel to the story of the author's own self loathing, perfectionism, depression. It was at once feel good a ...more
Sean Goh
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
An ambitious sweep through how the concept of self has evolved from 2,500 years of history. From the ancient Greeks to the digital avatars of facebook/instagram profiles, Storr does an admirable (if rambling at times) job of walking the reader through the long journey.
"We've found this relationship between social perfectionism and suicidality in all populations where we've done the work, including both the disadvantaged and the affluent."

The problem isn't that we're becoming more perfectioni
Diana Cremarenco
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never reviewed a book before, but this one made such an impression on me I felt I had to share my thoughts. Don’t get deceived by the title, it’s one of the best researched books and it treats the subject with great attention. It gives wonderful examples of the butterfly effect, how just a few people (Aristotle, Vasco etc) made such a strong impact on our culture. We may not know about them, but their ideas (sometimes horribly wrong) are deep within us. I always felt that having too high ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb one to read coz it switches direction and make a bit interesting to read.

First few chapter more like a psychology book, it helps you understand about self which carve for perfection in order to compete with this world. Some commit suicide coz of not matching it. And interesting chapter like Tribal Self and Perfectible Self

Introduction of Ayn Rand and her team about Self Esteem and Neoliberalism occupy the most of the pages and more like economics and business book
finally Digital Self and
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 / 5 A really well written, informative and interesting book, but equally disturbing and worrying. It explains the rise of narcissism, the differences between west and east and what it means to be human and how our brain and biology works. The majority of conclusions aren't that surprising, but some change everything society believes in. Another mind blowing book I've read this year.
Jennifer Louden
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fascinating way to understand how we became the selves we are today.
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this. It’s very modern and idealistic but it hit some high spots for me. I’m 46 and either going through or getting deeper into self evaluation, personal development and spirituality. I’ve gone through life feeling like an imposter at times, and untouchable at other times. I’m coming to believe that I can be a good person and work things out to be happy.

Some of the characters in the book at tragic. The vagina smell guy - such a shame. The selfie girl. Same. The gangster - an amazing t
Melinda Peacock
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do I even begin to describe this book? It's psychology; it's history; it's a journalist's search to find the meaning of self. Storr shatters the narrative about the self that our culture holds dear and reveals it as what it is: tribal propaganda. From Sigmund Freud to Silicon Valley, he uncovers the history of this narrative and examines its affects on the economy, on suicide rates, and so much more. A mind-blowing read.
Laura Richardson
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must-read. Very interesting and easy to follow, and actually seems to be based on legitimate research/findings unlike most books on this topic.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: realists
Two stars for the effort but I thoroughly disliked the style of writing: ironically, I found the author to be self-centered and guilty of narcissism, as he gratuitously inserted himself in the story time and time again. I expected Selfie to be a different book, with more emphasis on research, shedding light on the history of narcissism and how it's been boosted by modern technology. Instead, Selfie starts with anecdotes about suicides and, chapter after chapter, uses long-winded stories about pe ...more
Justin Drew
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I once had the privilege of seeing the author reading and talk about his previous book 'the heretics' in a Birmingham pub about people who have different and unusual belief systems that favour those more of conspiracy theory than reality. His new book looks more at the self and the self in society. I found it a wonderful book. Looking at a range of selfs (e.g. the dying self, the perfectible self, the good / bad / digital self) telling stories that tell us about ourself and the society we live i ...more
Bob Mendelsohn
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In one line, this is a history, a sociology, a psychology... where did the self-help craze come from and what good is self-esteem anyway?

Storr is a hostile-to-his-upbringing former Catholic who self-describes as "low agreeable and high neurotic", and who could be "wealthier, thinner, and more charming" but who at the end has come to very good conclusions about tribal propaganda, and the entire self-esteem hysteria. He even points out in great depth how self-esteem came to be, going all the way b
Zeynep Şen
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has effectively shattered my understanding of the world (well, "my" world, anyways) and my "self". Maybe I should say "selves" because appearantly there's more than one. And the idea that there one, core self, one you that's real? Well, I'm not sure what to call that idea at this point. Myth? Speculation? Wishful thinking? Reality? Know what? Read it and decide for yourselves because I sure as hell couldn't. Fair warning though; at the end of this book you'll either love Will Storr or ...more
Clare Whiticker
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Will storr does a fantastic job at delving deep into the ideas of the individual and how the affect of the neo liberal tribe has on the ideal form of self. Will goes through the generations, starting with the dying self then moving into the tribal self ending with the digital self. It really makes the resder understand as a society how each generational shift in thinking about the self has led to the next one, ending with where we are as a society today being a highly narcissistic, selfish indiv ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The title is all wrong. Or maybe just the subtitle. It sounds like some alarmist call for parents to pay attention to how much time their kids spend sitting around taking pictures of themselves, and it doesn't do justice to the author's enlightened analysis of history, psychology, and narratology. There's little here, beyond a few pages describing a young woman in the UK with severe mental illness who obsessively snaps and edits photos of herself all day long, about selfies but a whole lot in th ...more
Andre Harden
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Are you special? Wonderful? Can you accomplish your wildest dreams if you believe in yourself?

Do you think you're above average? That your progress is due to your hard work and brilliance?

Do you have an inner doubter that you try to keep chained in a closet?

If you answer yes to the above, you might be a product of the quest for perfection that has been the ongoing project of our western culture since the Greeks idealized the perfect self, and that has radically intensified in the 20th century
Joséphine (Word Revel)
Initial thoughts: One important thing to note about this book is that it was written by a journalist. He pursued neither a degree in sociology nor psychology. He did, however, consult many experts in those fields. That means that the way he presented and made sense of all that information was written in a very accessible manner, albeit with little in-depth analysis of the self or of culture.

In terms of history, though, I found Selfie to be illuminating. This is, after all, where journalists shin
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Will Storr is a long-form journalist, novelist and reportage photographer. His features have appeared in The Guardian Weekend, The Telegraph Magazine, The Times Magazine, The Observer Magazine, The Sunday Times Style and GQ, and he is a contributing editor at Esquire. He has reported from the refugee camps of Africa, the war-torn departments of rural Colombia and the remote Aboriginal communities ...more
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